South Dakota Falls at #22 Northern Arizona 22-16
South Dakota could generate no offense in the first half, fell behind by 19, and came up short with a second half rally, losing 22-16 at #22 Northern Arizona Saturday night.
After the teams exchanged punts on their first four possessions, the Coyotes got the first break of the game when Tevin Foster picked off Kyren Poe, returning it to the USD 46.
The Lumberjacks returned the favor four plays later when Josh Vander Maten was intercepted by Anders Battle and returned 46 yards for a touchdown, 6-0 Northern Arizona after a failed two-point conversion attempt.
With the Coyote offense still looking for a first down midway thru the second quarter, the USD defense forced another turnover in the first half when Tyler Starr stripped Poe, Keyen Lage recovered at the South Dakota 42.
But after the seventh three-and-out for the Coyote offense, USD punted the ball back with 5:42 left.
The Lumberjacks next possession ended in end zone, as Zach Bauman capped a 10-play, 85-yard drive with a 3-yard touchdown run, 13-0 NAU at the half.
In the first 30 minutes, South Dakota was outgained 171-7.
The Coyotes got the ball to start the second half, and did finally string together three first downs, moving inside NAU territory to the 31, where Vander Maten was picked off by Mike Dosen at the 34.
The Lumberjacks took advantage, going 10 plays in 66 yards, with Poe connecting with Dejzon Walker for a 14-yard touchdown pass to make it 19-0 after a blocked extra point.
The Coyotes offense responded with its best production of the night, with Vander Maten hitting Tyler Wilhelm for 27 yards on the first play, sparking a 9-play, 60-yard drive, and the first points of the night, a Miles Bergner 24-yard field goal to cut the NAU lead to 19-3.
Down 22-3 on their next possession, USD struck quickly with Vander Maten throwing 63 yards to Terrance Terry on the first play to the NAU 12. Four plays later, Vander Maten ran it in from 2 yards out and it was 22-9 after a failed two-point conversion attempt.
After the Coyote defense forced a punt, Vander Maten again hit on a big gainer, 54 yards to Nick Meyer to the NAU 37. 11 plays later, Vander Maten connected with Meyer for a 6-yard touchdown and USD trailed 22-16 with 2:54 left.
The Coyotes attempted to get the ball back on an onside kick, but the kick went out of bounds and the Lumberjacks took over on their own 49.
NAU ran the clock out from there top secure the win.
The Lumberjacks outgained 343-284. Bauman rushed for 151 yards and a touchdown. For USD, Vander Maten threw for 200 yards and ran for 63.
The Coyotes (1-2) open Missouri Valley Conference play at Western Illinois next Saturday at 11:00am.